UPDATE: Winter weather advisory in effect until Tuesday night

Monday, January 26, 2009 | 3:25 p.m. CST; updated 9:51 a.m. CST, Tuesday, January 27, 2009

COLUMBIA — Snow was expected to begin falling in the Columbia area by 5-6 p.m. Monday evening and could make for a slick evening commute.

That was the word at mid-afternoon from Mark Britt of the National Weather Service office in St. Louis. Cold temperatures — it was 17 degrees at 3:10 p.m. at Sanborn Field on the MU campus — will ensure that whatever snow falls sticks around.

The later people leave from work, "the worse it's going to get," Britt said. “The temperature is pretty cold, and that does not bode well for clearing off roads.”

Columbia should expect 2-3 inches of snow through Monday night, Britt said.

A winter weather advisory remains in effect for the Columbia area through 6 p.m. Tuesday. An additional inch of snow was possible on Tuesday, according to the latest forecast.

Only a small amount of wintry precipitation can make driving conditions dangerous and it is often difficult to tell when ice begins to form.

Columbia Public Works has 18 snowplows ready to spread salt and cinder on the roads, according to public information specialist Jill Stedem.

“We are notified about an hour before weather hits so that our crews are ready to go,” she said.

Each Columbia snowplow is equipped with global positioning technology to track their movements. Public Works hoped to have a Web site ready for residents to monitor the GPS snowplow progress online, but the site has yet to be launched. Stedem said the Web site is not likely to be ready until next winter.

For updates on the coming storm, follow the Missourian on Twitter.

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